Heart Healthy Pesto
Pesto refers to a mixture pounded in a marble mortar and pestle.
The pesto most often referred to here in the United States is basil pesto, more formally known as Pesto Genovese. While the most common recipes call for heavy use of cheese, nuts, and oil, in the original form it would be a blend of mostly basil, a small handful of nuts and cheese, and just enough oil to bind the sauce. If we are looking at pesto in this traditional way measuring would be by handfuls and pinches.
For our home cooking purposes, I looked at many recipes and decided on my measurements with a view to heart-healthy measurements. I disregarded many recipes that called for large portions of nuts and cheese. In small portions, olive oil and pine nuts have the health benefits of unsaturated fats.
I have so much basil growing in my herb garden I decided to make a large batch of Pesto Genovese in my food processor. Here's my recipe:
3 - 4 cups basil
3 -4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup oil
Pepper and salt to taste
Add the first four the ingredients to the food processor.
Pulse in short bursts, looking for a coarse texture.
Add the oil in halves or thirds. Use only enough to bind the mixture.
Keep the blending to a minimum - just till it comes together. Over-processing will give you a bitter flavor, and the basil will lose its lovely green color.
A note on salting your pesto, consider the way you salt your pasta when you boil it, as that will affect the final taste of the dish. You can always add a little salt before plating.
I store extra pesto by freezing tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray and then transferring the frozen cubes to a freezer container. Or in a small glass jar in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil protecting the top from oxidation.
To serve, toss a tablespoon or so of pesto on 1/2 pound of warm, freshly drained pasta. I reserve a cup of warm pasta water and add a little bit to thin the sauce and separate the pasta strands. Add a few fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Visit our Instagram account to see our video tutorial.
Let us know in the comments if you like our recipe.Sending warm wishes to your home,
from the husMait home kitchen.